2015 at Palliser Pass
Our 2015 camp was located in a wilderness area at the south end of Banff National Park. Skyline Hikers visited this location in 2006 (see video gallery) and in 1975.
The campsite was just below Mount Birdwood in a clearing on a small creek at 1960 meters elevation (6400′). Our campsite in the valley was surrounded mountains Shark, Smuts, Warre, Vavasour and Leval (pictured below). The camp provided easy access to Leman Lake (pictured below) and a superb view of the Albert River Mountains from Spray Pass. The beautiful Palliser Pass area was located 7 km south of the camp.
The 2015 camp dates were:
- July 13 to 18
- July 20 to 25
- July 27 to August 1
- August 3 to 8
- August 10 to 15
From the Mt. Shark parking lot on the Smith -Dorrien-Spray Trail, it was a 18.0 km hike up the Spray River. The elevation gain was negligable.
The Palliser location was in the southern tip of Banff National Park but the proposed hikes also accessed Kananaskis Country (Peter Lougheed Provincial Park) via Burstall Pass, as well as British Columbia through White Man, Spray, and Palliser Passes. These three passes are all on the Continental Divide which forms the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia. These passes are also the headwaters for creeks flowing into the Spray River system draining to the north and east into the Bow River. The drainage to the west side of these passes forms the headwaters of the Cross, Albert and Palliser Rivers flowing west and southwest into the Kootenay River system.
A choice of 5 or 6 hikes was offered each day from camp. Each day hike was led by an experienced volunteer leader. Hikers were prepared to hike over rough trails (many above the tree line) for 5 to 25 km per day with elevation gains of 200 to 1000 meters. Hike times averaged 6 to 7 hours per day including stops.
Camp life provided an interesting contrast to the peacefulness of the trail. Meal times in the dining tent were happy, noisy affairs. The camaraderie continued around the evening campfire where a description of hikes planned for the following day were given. It was also a time for singing, recounting of the day’s events and telling of tall tales.
Topographical Map References:
- Kananaskis Lakes 82 J/l1
- Spray Lakes 82 J/l4
Gem Trek maps:
- First choice: Kananaskis Lakes, Scale 1:50,000
- Second choice: Banff & Mount Assiniboine, Scale 1:100,000
Shown below are the map handout used by Skyline Hikers in 1975 (which also shows both the 1964 and 1975 camp locations) and a topographical map from the Government of Canada’s GeoGratis service (used under license). Click on either map to see a larger image.